Dreams and Schemes: My Decade of Fun in the Sun by Steve Lopez: 5*****

Unless you have a long memory, or live in Los Angeles, most people are unaware of this award winning journalist. In my younger days I followed Steve’s columns in the Philadelphia Inquirer and was devastated that his wonderful writer moved back to his home state of California where he now works for the Los Angeles Times. He continues to have a sharp eye, tongue and wit for local matters and when I found out that he had published a book that contains many of his columns I quickly bought it.

Steve is a wonderful observer and writer, and California is a great place for stories. This book is filled with the comic, ironic, tragic, motivational and inspirational columns he has written. I am still chuckling over how he was able to use the HOV lane when needed by paying a young Hispanic man to drive along with him. He was a day laborer and he made more motoring with Steve for 45 minutes than he did in a days labor. Win, win for both parties. We also get the column about the couple who was ordered to trim their trees as directed by the Fire Department, only to later discover that according to a municipal ordinance he was not allowed to trim those trees and thus they were fine over $330,000!!!! More than their house was worth at the time. We read of Mae LaBorde who began acting at age 93!! As well as a Mexican family that used the proceeds from their Taco restaurant to pay for their two daughters college, medical and law school costs, all at $1.95 per taco. We follow his sisters battle with cancer and a homeless man he befriends who is a master cellist. It is a wonderful collection of columns, and you do not have to know the people to understand their stories. Just a great read and one that I was able to read a few columns per night. Super effort!

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